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How Expensive is Tokyo Really? Busting the Myth Before You Visit Tokyo!

How Expensive is Tokyo Really? Busting the Myth Before You Visit Tokyo!

Date published: 30 August 2019
Last updated: 31 March 2020

The impression that many have of Tokyo is that it's an incredibly expensive place to visit and get around! When traveling abroad, it is always important to have a rough idea about how much money you will have to spend during your stay – Japan is no exception from this. Let’s take a look at the real prices in Tokyo for food, transportation, and other essentials!

Table of Contents
  1. Food Prices in Tokyo
  2. Grocery Prices in Tokyo
  3. Cost of Daily Necessities in Tokyo
  4. Price of Transportation in Tokyo
  5. Related Articles

Food Prices in Tokyo

Food Prices in Tokyo

The budget for a lunch in Tokyo is roughly around 1,000 yen. Certain restaurants and shops, particularly those in business areas with a lot of office workers, also offer so-called “one coin lunches” for 500 yen.

The price for dinner, on the other hand, varies greatly by restaurant. Usually, course meals cost over 5,000 yen per person, while the general budget at an izakaya, a traditional Japanese pub, lies between 3,000 and 6,000 yen per person for both snacks and alcoholic drinks.

The cheapest option is, of course, fast food such as noodles and burgers – let’s take a look at some average fast food prices.

Average price of fast foods in Tokyo’s wards:
Cheeseburger
167 yen
Conveyor Belt Sushi (2 pieces of tuna nigiri)
132 yen
Hot Coffee (at a coffee shop)
422 yen
Ramen
567 yen
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
729 yen

Grocery Prices in Tokyo

Grocery Prices in Tokyo

In Japan, people mainly do their grocery shopping at supermarkets. Although their number has been decreasing over the past few years, you’ll be able to find small private shops that sell fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables in shopping districts of residential areas as well.

Average prices for groceries in Tokyo’s wards:
Non-Glutinous Rice (5kg of Koshihikari)
2,285 yen
Milk (1 liter)
221yen
Beer (350 ml, 6 cans)
1,135 yen
Cabbage (1 kilogram)
208 yen
Eggs (L size, 10 eggs)
249 yen
Japanese Horse Mackerel (100 grams)
110 yen
Potato (1 kilogram)
364 yen
Pork (ham 100 grams)
194 yen
Cooking Oil (1 kilogram)
315 yen
Kitchen Salt (1 kilogram)
112 yen

Cost of Daily Necessities in Tokyo

Cost of Daily Necessities in Tokyo

Japan’s daily necessities, available in pretty much every store, are generally both very high in quality and also very reasonable. Particularly diapers, toilet paper, and the likes are some of the most popular items among tourists in Japanese drug stores.

Worth mentioning is also the price of cigarettes – although it varies depending on the brand, it continues to rise with each year. Right now, the average price for a box of cigarettes is around 450 yen.

The average prices of daily necessities in Tokyo’s wards:
Disposable Diapers for Infants (10)
301 yen
Laundry Detergent (1 kilogram)
310 yen
Plastic Wrap
159 yen
Shampoo (1 liter)
1,492 yen
Toothpaste (140 grams)
166 yen
Toilet Paper (12 rolls)
262 yen

Price of Transportation in Tokyo

Price of Transportation in Tokyo

The fares for trains and buses are usually determined by travel distance. On top of that, certain service fees may apply as well, such as limited express and so on. By the way: the standard taxi fare for a majority of Tokyo’s businesses is 430 yen the first 1.059 kilometers, then 80 yen per 237 meters afterward.

Average transport costs in Tokyo’s wards:
Train Fare (except JR; minimum price per adult for 11 kilometers)
231 yen
Bus Fare (regular buses, minimum price per adult for 7 kilometers)
231 yen
Taxi Fare (daytime fare for 4 kilometers)
1,450 yen
Car Gasoline (1 liter, self-service excluded)
135 yen
Newspaper Subscription (1 month)
3,343 yen
Landline Call Fee (1 month)
1,838 yen

*Prices shown in this article are based on the most recent Retail Price Survey (average value in 2015) by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Statistics Bureau.

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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